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President addresses G77 & China Summit in Cuba

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered a compelling address at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the G77 & China in Havana, Cuba yesterday (15). In his speech, President Wickremesinghe emphasized the crucial role of science, technology and innovation in overcoming the current development challenges faced by developing nations worldwide.

President Wickremesinghe began by commending Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez for convening the summit and acknowledging Cuba’s historic role as a champion for the concerns and aspirations of developing nations within various multilateral forums.

He noted the unprecedented challenges confronting the global South, including the pandemic, climate change, food, fertilizer and energy crises, which threaten the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and exacerbate the global debt crisis.

President Wickremesinghe then delved into the historical perspective of technological development, highlighting how Europe’s advancements in the 15th century, such as gunpowder, cannons and ocean-going ships, enabled it to conquer other parts of the world, resulting in the technological divide seen today. He underscored that a new technological divide is emerging in the 21st century, necessitating the adoption of digitalization and new technologies, such as Big Data, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Biotechnology and Genome Sequencing, to bridge the gap.

He emphasised the importance of an educated manpower well equipped with knowledge and technological know-how essential for the smooth flow of the needed transformations which will lubricate the development and catching up process in developing nations. 

The President outlined his government’s initiatives, including the evaluation of underperforming Science and Technology Research Institutes and the establishment of a Technology and Innovation Council and a Digital Transformation Agency. Additionally, Sri Lanka plans to create four new universities specializing in new technologies, with one being the result of technological cooperation between India and Sri Lanka. The International Climate University will be the 05th. 

Addressing the digital divide, President Wickremesinghe cited challenges such as limited access to costly technology, insufficient digital skills and infrastructure, cultural and institutional barriers and financing constraints. 

He called for effective cooperation mechanisms within the G77 and China, including the revitalization of the Consortium of Science & Technology & Innovation for the South (COSTIS) and the commitment of member countries to earmark 1% of their GDP for R&D over a decade.

President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of collaboration between governments and the private sector and proposed creating technological platforms in fields like digitalization, health, medication, AI and renewable energy including green hydrogen, inspired by the European Union’s Technology & Innovation Platforms. 

The brain drain from the South to the North and the resulting loss of educated manpower is another threat to the development of Science Technology and Innovation  of the South, President Wickremesinghe said, adding that China, India, Japan and South Korea have developed Science Technology and Innovation by nurturing their manpower. “Therefore we must ask for compensation from the North for the loss of our manpower,” he added.

He also urged increased South-South cooperation and proposed a scheme akin to the Colombo Plan to enhance collaboration, exchange best practices and develop policies that harness the transformational potential of science, technology and innovation.

In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to supporting the new Havana Declaration and called for the collective voice of G77 and China to be heard in international fora.

The President’s address underscored the significance of science, technology and innovation in shaping the future of developing nations, making it a pivotal moment at the G77 and China Summit.

(President’s Media Division)

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Cricket equipment distributed to 67 schools in the Gampaha district

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With the aim of developing cricket in the schools of the Gampaha district, cricket equipment was distributed to 67 schools yesterday (July 15) at the Presidential Secretariat. 

This event was held under the patronage of Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, the Chief of Staff to the President and the President’s Senior Adviser on National Security.

The program was organized by the Youth Vision 2048 organization and the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, following the vision of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was carried out under the full guidance and supervision of Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka.

In his address, Mr. Ratnayaka emphasized the importance of school cricket in nurturing talented players for the national level. He also highlighted President Wickremesinghe’s commitment over the past two years to rebuilding the country’s economy. The President aims to implement an economic program that ensures a prosperous future for the country’s children within a corruption-free framework.

Mr. Ruwan Wijewardena, Presidential Adviser on Climate Change, also spoke at the event, expressing his appreciation for all those contributing to the development of future generations’ sports skills.

President of Youth Affairs and Sustainable Development Director Sachira Sarathchandra, Youth Vision 2048 Advisor Dr. Lasantha Gunawardena, Youth Vision 2048 President Dan Poddiwela, along with officials and principals from the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, sports instructors, and students, were present at the event.

(President’s Media Division)

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Maithri, Pujith, Nilantha given time till August 30 to finish payments

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The Supreme Court yesterday ordered former President Maithripala Sirisena, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara and former Chief of State Intelligence Service, DIG Nilantha Jayawardena to pay all the compensations stipulated by the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Easter Sunday terror attacks before August 30.

If they fail to pay the amount before that date, the Attorney General was ordered to take the necessary steps to prosecute them before September 20 for contempt of Court for not acting according to the judgement.

Also, according to the decision of the Supreme Court, the National Police Commission was ordered to take the necessary steps to conduct a disciplinary investigation against the former head of the State Intelligence Service Nilantha Jayawardena and report to the Court about its progress on September 20 through a motion.

Meanwhile, the Court was informed that out of the Rs. 75 million ordered by the Court, former IGP Pujith Jayasundera has paid only Rs. 1.9 million.

The Court was further informed that then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando has paid the total amount of compensation ordered by the Supreme Court.

President’s Counsel Faizer Mustapha, appearing for Maithripala Sirisena, informed the Supreme Court that his client has already paid Rs. 58 million in compensation to the victims and further requested for six years to pay the remaining Rs. 42 million in equal installments.

(dailynews.lk)

(This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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This week’s Cabinet decisions

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A number of decisions have been taken at the Cabinet meeting held yesterday (July 15).

The decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers are as follows :

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